John Ortiz has nabbed a role in Bumblebee, the first Transformers spinoff movie. The film is set in the 1980s, which means period haircuts and dated costumes aplenty. The Bumblebee movie will also have a significantly smaller budget than the mainline Transformers flicks. It began filming in July, with Travis Knight directing, and it’s slated for a December 2018 release.
Ortiz – who you may recognize from Kong: Skull Island, Silver Linings Playbook or Fast & Furious – joins The Edge of Seventeen’s Hailee Steinfeld and WWE star John Cena in the cast. Jorge Lendeborg Jr has also boarded the project, as have Jason Drucker and Abby Quinn. Plus, it’s been confirmed that Peter Cullen is lending his vocal chords to the production, reprising once again the legendary role of Optimus Prime. It’s unclear how large a role the iconic transforming truck will have, though, considering that Bumblebee’s life without his Autobot boss is meant to be the film's focus.
Deadline broke the news of Ortiz’s involvement in the Bumblebee spinoff, but no information has been released with regards to his role. Deadline’s report also included this short synopsis, which stresses that Steinfeld’s young character is very much the movie’s human protagonist:
“It’s set in 1987, where Bumblebee, who is refuged in a junkyard, is discovered and revived by Charlie (Steinfeld) who, on the cusp of turning 18, is trying to find her place in the world.”
There’s not much to go on, then. Considering Ortiz’s age, and the usual tropes of the Transformers films, it’s easy to assume that he’s playing a grouchy government official with no love for giant robots that change into motor vehicles – not even yellow ones. That is just guesswork, though, necessitated by the fact that literally nothing has been announced about Ortiz’s character. Alternatively, he could be playing a robot, a nice dude, or something else entirely.
The safest assumption to make is that Ortiz’s Bumblebee role won’t be a huge one. Ortiz has joined Bumblebee three months into its shoot, the film is due out next year, and he’s already got a packed schedule including God Particle (the latest Cloverfield spinoff produced by J.J. Abrams), Replicas (starring Keanu Reeves), Nostalgia (with John Hamm), and Peppermint (alongside Jennifer Garner). All signs seem to point towards a minor supporting role for Ortiz, this time around.
As more Bumblebee news comes to light, you can expect to find it right here on Screen Rant.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018